Ask an Expert

Our Ask an Expert Zone is in association with the National Self Build and Renovation Centre (NSBRC)

Bring your questions, plans and ideas along and talk with a range of specialists in the Ask an Expert area, in association with the National Self Build & Renovation Centre.

A booking system will operate with times allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Head over to the booking desk in the Ask an Expert area as soon as you arrive at the Show to make your reservation. 

General self build

Ross StokesRoss Stokes has been Editor of Self Build & Design magazine for over 20 years. He is familiar with the challenges associated with home building and renovation, having undertaken several projects of his own including transforming a derelict mill house into his dream home in rural Shropshire. In his professional role, he has access to a wide range of expertise covering everything from plotfinding, planning and finance, through to design and procurement.

Design and construction/general self build

gcole.jpg Gerald Cole is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in self build, home design and construction. He was the launch editor of SelfBuild & Design magazine and is now consulting editor. He is the author of Build Your Own Brick House. Gerald can advise on the various construction methods available to selfbuilders and the alternatives to traditional brick-and-block construction. He can advise on how to save time and costs, and the pros and cons of the varying styles.

Construction and Passivhaus design

sue_ask-an-expert_selfbuild-and-design-east-2018.jpgSue Dewhirst of Evolved Design has been involved in the construction industry for over 30 years with expertise in Modern Methods of Construction and Passivhaus design, including 10 years with one of the UK's major insulation manufacturers as Technical Sales Manager. Sue is a Green Team expert at The National Self Build & Renovation Centre at Swindon and specialises in Low Energy / Passivhaus Homes using a range of building systems. Evolved Design are chartered Architectural Technologists, Passivhaus Designers & Energy Assessors covering England & Wales.

Design and planning/general self build

ndavey.jpg With many years of experience, Neil Davey, Technical Consultant at the NSBRC, has helped hundreds of selfbuilders progress and complete their projects through the impartial advice and support he offers. As a resident expert at the NSBRC, Neil’s area of expertise covers the design and planning process, as well as signposting and offering general self build advice.



Matt_TYPE_architects_selfbuild-and-design-east-2018.jpgTYPE is a design led architect’s practice based in London, formed in 2013 by founding directors Sam Nelson, Tom Powell, Ognjen Ristic and Matt Cooper. Two of the team will be on hand to answer your questions.

TYPE deliver design solutions based on a rigorous understanding of the clients’ needs and a full appreciation of the context of each project. Their projects include the refurbishment and extension of existing homes, new build houses and barn conversions, the creative re-use of commercial buildings and housing developments. They also design bespoke furniture and interiors.

Tom_TYPE_architects_selfbuild-and-design-east-2018.jpgTheir services include design and feasibility studies, applications for planning permission, obtaining building costs as well as working with contractors and consultants through the technical design and construction stages.